Professional Identities Disappear Quickly

job search Oct 06, 2021

Professional & Job Seeker Identities

Each person possesses multiple identities including our

  • Origin identity: Californian, Kansan, New Yorker
  • Gender identity: Male, Female, Trans
  • Marital status: single, married, divorced, widowed
  • Religious identity: Catholic, Methodist, Jewish, Latter-day Saint
  • Professional identity: welder, accountant, programmer, banker, student

While some identities remain fairly permanent (Californians who still claim California after living away from the state decades later), our professional identity possesses a very short shelf life. Most people within weeks of losing a job begin to lose their professional identity. After working 15 years in one profession, within weeks of losing a job, they respond "I'm in between jobs" when asked "What do you do for a living?" at a party. Fifteen years experiences ceases to matter when out of work.

Since nature abhors a vacuum, we try to fill the void left as our professional identity. We begin to assume, what I call, the job seeker identity. We respond to situations as job seekers. We think like job seekers. We act the way we feel job seekers should act. We feel the stigma associated with job seekers.

The job seeker identity may inhibit your success. We'll share why next Tuesday.

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